The sun beamed down on my pale, freckled skin. I was sitting atop a load of fresh hay as the sweet smell of the bales drifted my way.
I was pouring with sweat in the humid heat, but beamed with pride. This was the very first load of hay I'd ever stacked all alone.
The wind blowing through my sweat drenched hair as we drove slowly to the barn as I sat proudly on the trailer. The smile on Poppa's face spoke millions to the pride for me that beamed from his soft, but wrinkled face.
As we pulled into the barn loft, I jumped off the trailer, and sprinted to the fence to get a drink from the crisp, cool water faucet.
We walked slowly to the back porch of the house, and sat down in lawn chairs. The metal of the metal and canvas chairs tinged my thin legs with the heat of the sun. The canvas was frayed and scratchy on my thighs as it dug into me.
Granny flung the door open, and brought out a juicy, ice cold, red watermelon.
Poppa and I dug into the watermelon. I watched him eat and spit the seeds into the yard. I was more timid. I would take big bites, and let the sweet juice dribble down my chin only after I had picked all the seeds out.
The wind blew gently as we devoured the watermelon. His smile made my soul warm in a way that the long, infrequent dates with my Dad and his sporadic girlfriends never could. Days spent like this meant so much more than the afternoons spent at Mom's house listening to her and her husband yell for hours on end.
Here I was safe. There was no yelling. No throwing picture frames or unnecessary rage-full beatings.
There was just love. The love of my grandpa taught me that there was a normal. That my typical days, however, were definitely not it.
I could've spent every day of every summer sitting with my butt glued to a dilapidated lawn chair listening to his deep voice sing.
That voice taught me the value of hard work. He taught me the meaning of love. He taught me that I was good enough, no matter what anyone else said or did. He loved me.
Today, I would give anything to go back and sit under the shade tree, chomping down on a watermelon, but the memories will have to do. For now.
This post is linked up with the Red Dress club's memoir writing prompt.